A Connecticut man who found a bag containing almost $5,000 in cash laying in a parking lot claims it felt like he had won the lotto. So he made the decision to keep it.
He has been accused of stealing three months later.
It turned out that the bag, which Trumbull Police claimed was seized outside the same bank and was plainly marked with a bank’s symbol, contained money from the town’s tax department. The town of Trumbull was listed as the legitimate owner of the money in “numerous documents” that were also found there, according to the police.
Robert Withington, 56, a resident of Trumbull, claims he did not steal the money and failed to see any identifying marks inside the bag.
“It’s not like this was planned out,” Withington told Hearst Connecticut Media. “Everything was in the moment and it was like I hit the lottery. That was it.”
On Withington’s work phone on Tuesday, The Associated Press left a message requesting comment. There were no longer active phone numbers for Withington.
On May 30, the money went missing. According to a police news release, when a representative from the Trumbull Tax Collector’s office arrived at the bank to make a deposit during regular business hours, they were unable to locate the bag. Detectives discovered the bag had been “inadvertently dropped on the ground outside of the bank” and Withington had picked it up after obtaining search warrants, reviewing various surveillance recordings from nearby businesses, and conducting numerous interviews over the ensuing months.
“I walked out onto the parking lot, saw something on the ground and there was no one around so I picked it up,” Withington told Hearst. “It’s not like I stole something.”
“If I knew I was wrong in the first place, I would have given it right back. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong,” he added.
Withington reportedly admitted to being in the bank that day and taking the bag when he was eventually questioned by police. He informed them that, in his opinion, “he had no obligation to return the bag to its rightful owner,” according to the press statement.
Withington, who owns a dog training company, assured Hearst that he had no criminal history and that his clients could speak for his honesty. He was charged on Friday with third-degree larceny, a crime that carries a maximum five-year jail sentence as well as a $5,000 fine. He was released on the condition that he show up in court on September 5.
“Anybody who knows me knows all I’m about is generosity,” he said. “After living in this town for 20 years, I’m not looking for trouble.”